Kerry Valentine’s Day!!!

Every now and then, I break what has become the norm for this Crush Alot segment of the blog and highlight a crush that I may have on a woman who is already super-famous for being drooled over and seemingly on everyone else’s top 10 list. But Cot-Dammit, this is Valentine’s Day! And furthermore, This is Kerry fuckin’ Washington! And I feel as tho I staked my claim to her looonggg before the Vogue and Maxim spreads and her becoming a household name and a face that the Whiteboys recognize and wouldn’t mind scoring with.

Her and my infatuation go back to the days of the film Push, and more firmly, after one of the few Spike Lee films that I like, She Hate Me. I like her so much that her name has come up in other Crush Alot posts featuring other women. She’s like that ex that you can’t forget. I feel almost too familiar with her…She’s a true New York City chic. An Aquarius – which is one of my favorite signs. I’ve watched her career blossom. I identify with Anthony Mackie in the films that they have done together and sometimes I feel like his characters in relation to her. This is my folly. In real life, I heard she has a mean case of Jungle Fever (that makes 3 of my crushes), and she smokes cigarettes – which is an immediate deal-breaker for me. And on top of all of that, she’s a Bronx girl. A No No.

Still, one is allowed to dream right? And all kinds of dreams occur with visions of Ms. Washington. What she perceivably brings to the table personality-wise is that effect that men love; That cool without conceit. That NYC realism without the harshness. Just the right touch of sexiness, and an awareness of it that she doesn’t overdo. Balance. That’s what she represents. Isn’t that what we all want at the end of the day? 

Logically, as her star has risen, so has her glam. Although she has a knack for showing up wearing the same dresses as her star-studded peers and outdoing them, she’s now at the point where she is a Fashion darling and someone who the stylistas rave about. This is part of why she has become such a recognizable Black face. And what a face it is…

I get the appeal now. It took me a while to figure out why everyone else was dying over Kerry, because I’ve always known why I like her. But now I see her universal beauty; it’s simple…A silky skinned, Almond-Brown girl with a typically Anglo-Saxon face and symmetry, accented by Bold African Features. It’s in the shape of her face, the thinness of her nose, those are the safe parts. The mystique and lure lie in her pronounced Cheekbones and that super-sexual quality of permanently pursed lips made famous by Angelina Jolie and loved by men and lesbians all over the world!

All that is Dope, but I’ve always loved her for her eyes and the way she talks. Voice is one of those things that define femininity, and hers is one that is definite, direct, but seductive. She speaks as if she practiced for years to shed her Bronx accent under the veil of sounding proper. Her words are measured, slow, but have a sharpness to them. Of course, the way her lips move when delivering such words adds to that all. And her eyes are a beautiful shape. She bats them often which accentuates her super-girlish lashes. And the way they sit on top of those high cheeks just make them look like they were made for entrancing and trapping people in their gaze. That gaze is tricky tho; Half doe-eyed, half Vamp executing a compulsion. 

Make no mistake, Kerry is Beautiful, NOT Bad. She rests somewhere inbetween…too sexy to be just a cute queen, yet lacking the bodily dimensions to be a vixen. She was meant for Couture. And tho she’s been in videos (and directed as well), she’s far from a video girl. Her shape is great. It’s not exceptionally curvy and she’s not carrying any parts that protrude or present themselves before she does. But the total package is what you fantasize over…The way she carries it all….How she walks, how she wears those high fashion dresses, how she accessorizes. Her confidence makes up for any lack of  T n A. The aura of sensuality and sexuality that surrounds her is so thick that I want to take her to bed quicker than Kim Kardashian, who has all of the physical traits that I lust over. That characteristic is more of a commodity in the sack than D cups. 

Underneath it all, there’s that New Yorker there that just makes you want to cheer her on. Her look isn’t typical for Hollywood. She screams Black Girl despite her mix of features and appeal. She doesn’t have that ambiguos fair-skinned thing that Halle Berry or Selita Ebanks have. She is proud of her look and she wears it like anything else that she wears; Flawlessly! Maybe because she has that NY thing going on and looks like the kind of women that I have been smitten with off sight while perusing the city, I feel like I can just walk up to her and approach her like any average woman in the city. And she’s anything but average, but I just may do that one of these days…

So You,

Kerry Washington

Are MY NEW CRUSH!

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Speaking Of Muslims….

Remember last year when I posted up those ads that were so ridiculously worded and imaged that they were unbelievable?

Well this definitely falls under that category. 

I was just so befuddled that it took me some time to visit the site to verify that it was an actual site and not some mean parody or theme-porn spam.

But no, this site is very real. Considering itself the technologically evolved medium for Muslim singles to meet and match, this answer to modern world dating purports to be a safe platform to launch a successful and meaningful Islamic marriage – seeing how that is the only way to truly ‘date’ within Islam.

I didn’t even think this was possible, but there you have it…A faith-based social networking site that is actually 10 years old, boasting to help make “4 marriages a day”, full of women- with or without their hair covered, posting up their pictures with men doing the same. No abs or backshots, no cleavage or chest hair with provocative usernames,  just brief descriptions with definitions as Sunni, Shiite or “Just Muslim” for those less engulfed in sects.

After reading the mission statement of the site, I understand it better. It’s a little weird, but it’s dope at the same time to see such a strict religion moving forward with the times and knowing that there’s a place out there where judgement is reserved and attraction is not primarily sexually rooted. I don’t think there’s one person on there who feels some of the initial awkwardness or social isolation that some users of other sites like Match or Chemistry dot com feel. This is a bunch of people globally sharing a common goal under the premise of a common belief.

Click the picture and check it out for yourself if you’re curious.

Go See This!!! – new film “Mooz-Lum” brings familiar faces and the conflict of Islam & Blackness in the modern world to the screen

I’m pushing HARD for this movie because whether it’s a classic or not, just the fact that it tackles such an unorthodox subject matter is compelling.

I appreciate these small indies that come from life experiences as observed or encountered by the writer or director themselves. They usually contain great realism and show flawed protagonists with interesting conflicts.

This particular film resonates with me, not only because it features an all Black cast with names and faces that we haven’t seen in a while (but who are great when given the right roles), but more importantly because it circles around 2 things that are close to home for me.

The first being the impact of the 9/11 attacks and the fervor and sentiment surrounding that during and after. The film is set mostly on a college campus, where the main character (played by Diana Ross‘ son, Evan) is attending and adjusting. I was in college when the attacks took place…Living directly across the street from The Pentagon to be exact, so I clearly remember all of the frenzy and madness.

Secondly, and more personally, this speaks to my coming of age as I was raised under Islamic principles and faith by a passively militant father who was a member of the infamous Nation Of Islam; known for its socio-political stance and race-motivated rhetoric, but more notorious for its outspoken members and imagery of Black men selling newspapers and bean-pies. Their adaptation of the Islamic following – preferably Sunni, developed a hybrid that usually Americanized and negroized alot of the religious dogma and highlighted certain parts and neglected others. The now satirized way of saying the universal Muslim greeting was coined by members of the Nation and their mispronunciation of the Arabic to the point where most Americans know it as ‘Salaam-A-Lake-Um’ as opposed to its correct pronunciation of

Asalaamu Alaykum!

This is just a reflection of how that adaptation and subsequent blending in with the very lost Culture of African-Americans has given way to many of the popular ideas and misconceptions of Islam held by the majority of the U.S. The melding with political and racial agendas has made the ideals of a community-based and peaceful religion very murky and has even lead to off-shoots such as the 5% Nation of the Gods and Earths that was heavy among Afro-centric pot-heads in the 90’s. From fallacies of oppressed women having to dress like ninjas, to imagery of a constantly aggressive and non-smiling people who starve themselves for one month out of every year, Muslims have a bad rap in this country and most of the Western world. Alot of that is based on the inherent ignorance of our societies. And alot of that has been the doing of Muslims worldwide themselves. I’m pretty fuckin’ sure that Islamic Extremists causing mass atrocities aren’t helping that either.

As my father was more of a Muslim by description than practice, I was not one of those kids walking around with 4 Arabic names and white robes and kufi’s going to private neighborhood schools. In fact, I took more of a vested interest in the faith upon entering my teens, when I set out to teach myself how to pray in Arabic and bonded with my boy Randall, who was the first Muslim kid I ever met in life that was one by choice. Most Muslim kids that I knew of were all just like me; hood babies with Muslim names given by their fathers who were members of the Nation but failed to instill any hardcore Islamic influence. I had reached a point where I felt like more of a Muslim than my own father, who doesn’t even spell his adopted Muslim name the Arabic way…but eventually, after leaving college, I succumbed to the conflict that has always surfaced within myself about the inconsistencies within Islam. I started to analyze it again, remembering passages I’ve read, and looking at everything that’s been done in its name, and this caused me to distance myself from all religion as a whole. I’ve considered myself agnostic for a while now.

However, my upbringing under the codes of conduct have influenced my life choices irreversibly and it cannot be denied. I wouldn’t have had it any other way. A life without pork and alcohol is not a life lost. I do like balance. And I feel that the skewed view on Muslims is so much the majority that the actual beauty of the core essence of the religion is never seen. What it provides at the heart, is a structure that promotes a nearly rape-free culture that doesn’t objectify women and places her value at such a level that she is to be protected, not restricted. The teachings of appreciation for and usage of the Planet Earth is almost Zen-like, and the hygienic guidelines rival others in just how close to God one can be. There’s a solidarity between most eastern Muslims that is admirable to the point where everyone can learn from. Once again, it’s those things done by people in the name of their beliefs that fuck it up for the world!

Hope this movie touches on all these things while entertaining. As most movies that I wind up promoting and suggesting, this film is only showing as a limited release, and in NYC that means only at AMC theatre in Times Square, starting Friday February 11th. If nothing else, maybe folks will never pronounce it as “Mooz-Lum” again!

“Negroes In The News” – Black astronaut gets honored, & The Hip-Hop Juggler Gets his shine!

Let’s try something different.

As further proof that we are constantly learning and growing, I recently discovered the story of Ronald McNair, the second African-American astronaut ever in space.

It just so happens that the 25th anniversary of the tragic 1986 Challenger shuttle crash on which Ronald was a crew member has just passed, and to commemorate this, the building of a pivotal library from McNair’s youth in his South Carolina hometown has been named for him.

This is one of the 2 reasons that McNair has been surfacing in the news recently. I came across him from an article that I read in a local NYC newspaper focusing on the park that bears his name in Brooklyn and how his story has faded into relative obscurity. Whole generations (most likely beginning with mine) have passed, totally oblivious to his presence in the pages of astronomy and Black History. Since this is Negroes In The News, and Black History Month, I thought this was the perfect time to shine some light on him as well as someone in the present day making strides. 

These are the stories seldom told in the midst of the gross cliche and rhetoric that this month tends to bring. I prefer to focus on the modern Black History; that is, the history which is being made every day by our forward thinkers and doers. As a child, I was always fascinated by the existence of Black astronauts. Not fully understanding what it is exactly that astronauts do (and I STILL don’t have the faintest), but for a young kid being bombarded with the sci-fi and enamoring world of comic, cartoon and television imagery, THESE were the closest thing to superheroes in real life. Before rappers rose in popularity to become the ultimate larger-than-life figures. I couldn’t believe there were actually Black men and women building and riding in shuttles. I didn’t have time to fall into the fantasies of this however, because often in school, these folk were just footnotes in our Black History studies, along with all of the inventors, surgeons and those who ventured in the fields of hard science. Sadly, they were lost and overshadowed between the pages upon pages emphasizing on the less educated but more celebrated preachers, athletes and musicians.

And McNair’s resume is amazing! Comparable to any scientific peer of any race, while undeniably boasting a sense of Black pride. His progression in his personal life can be used to exemplify the heights to which African-Americans should aspire to as a whole. He reached academic and career pinnacles, and can even say that he attended an HBCU. He was a Black Belt in the field of martial arts and skilled with the saxophone – even going so far as to playing while in orbit. There’s also a school named after him. I won’t go on and on about his credentials, I’ll just point you toward this piece from the NPR that brilliantly weaves an anecdote shared by McNair’s brother into it’s write-up on him. Check it out and learn something. It’s shorter than this whole post! http://www.npr.org/2011/01/28/133275198/astronauts-brother-recalls-a-man-who-dreamed-big

Moving on to the second subject of our segment, I was ecstatic and super motivated and proud when I saw that my homegirl Starrene “GangStarrGirl” Rhett posted this article that features her best friend, Paris Goudie in Black Enterprise magazine.

http://www.blackenterprise.com/2011/02/10/financial-worker-quits-job-to-juggle/

I feel kinda wack because I know Paris well via Starrene, and have yet to catch his act. “The Hip-Hop Juggler”, as his performance title reads, is a true grinder. He found his way in a niche market and career field that is rarely thought of and under-appreciated, especially by people of color. His success goes against the very grain and his drive is inspiring to anyone, as he is one of those people who have truly followed their passion and stuck to what he does best!

I walk around with his card in my wallet and I can honestly say that he’s a genuinely honest and humble dude. Props to Black Enterprise for showcasing this young man and his choice to take the road less traveled. In more ways than one. I see you P!

This is Black History in the making…

Hot 16…Or More…”BE RIGHT”

The homie Khadj told me yesterday that my rapping lacks aggression and that I sound too relaxed on the mic. Almost to a point where the listener may not care enough about what they’re hearing to delve any deeper into my material or personality. Well it’s obvious that he hasn’t seen the video for “Be Right”. 

At first, I was moved to write him off and tell him that he’s making loose judgements off of a loose listen to my first mixtape, The Crazy 8’s – which is full of rhymes that I put together in 2003. That’s an 8 year old gauge. But then I remembered that The Crazy 8’s has always been the tape that I tell people to refer to first in order to get an idea of the kind of artist that I am. And then I remembered that the song “Be Right” was one the only one that I wrote in 2005/2006, and that the accompanying video was my very first ever. Khadj had remarked that after seeing my Appearance on BET‘s Rap City, he gathered that I’m a good performer who can probably convey that rawness and expressiveness better on that plane than on track. He commented how a video would also capture that. So as I had prepared this month’s Hot 16…Or More…entry at the end of January, I considered talking about the whole experience of my first video being a milestone moment for me. How It rode the wave of successful timing and momentum that I had gathered ever since that fateful airing on Rap City. How I linked up with 2 creative and hungry young videographers from my city who offered to usher me into the world of music video for free, before it even became the norm for unsigned rappers to make their own, starting both of our grinds. Now his comments have just prompted me to present this song and video as a study in delivery and performance.

As the only song on The Crazy 8’s with original production (albeit sampled), there’s a real organic quality to it. The thing that I’ve always said about me as a rapper, is that as a listener, you either like my voice, or you hate it. I’m not going to yell on track, or do that stupid snarly thing that Kanye does. There’s something not-so-smooth about my tone. It’s not velvety. It’s also not the most commanding. What I do instead, is command the words. I give them life. Never too wordy, never too empty. There’s a slickness and a youthful nuance present in how I bend certain words and emphasize, and of course, you can pick up traces of my sarcasm and wit from these things. Especially in how I set up my punchlines…Lots of movie and pop-culture references. But also, lots of allusions to historic people and events, old parables and idioms, random knowledge that only someone who deals with vocabulary regularly finds themselves doing. Basically, you can tell I was the Black kid paying attention in all those extra English classes back in school.

This kind of approach would lead some to call me “lyrical” for lack of a better word. People are quick to assign that label to anyone who has a penchant for using a lot of syllables. But as a rapper, you can say a whole lot of nothing with a lot of words. Talib Kweli can exemplify that on his less conscious songs. You don’t hear anyone but other rappers praising Scarface for being lyrical. It’s not the first word that comes to mind when people consider his slow flow and poetic prose. At the same time, no one ever calls Bone Thugs N Harmony and Busta Rhymes lyrical – and they used more syllables than most. That all stems from the fact that they are hard to decipher. Yet, if you strike that balance between being multi-syllabistic and understandable, then you’re automatically thrown in lyrical water…strapped in with peers such as Pharaohe, Black Thought, Canibus, Lupe and whoever else was a backpacker’s wet dream on the cusp of the 90’s and the new millenium.

When I was deciding how I wanted to do this song, I knew I wanted to come off as one of those lyrical dudes, but with a jabbing element to it. My brand of lyrical is rarely from an angle where I want to boggle minds. I just want to come off as hungry, and taunting with an I’m-better-than-you smirk that’s apparent between the lines. I knew this had to be and feel dynamic. I heard the beat when I used to visit J.Libre‘s crib, the producer of it, and founder of my crew – The Balance. I was visiting his recording setup there weekly, and this beat spoke to me. It’s a sample from Isaac Hayes‘ rendition of  “If Loving You Is Wrong…” I was recording what I thought was going to be my version of Jay-Z‘s …Volume 1 at the time, so I just put that beat aside for future reference. When that idea began dwindling however, I re-listened to this beat again and felt inspired to murder it. I was still unheard of. My Rap City appearance had not aired yet and I needed a credo. I also why I wanted at least 1 original song.

The beat is so triumphant sounding. The statement was waiting to be made. The words in the sample are clear; “I don’t wanna be right”.  Even my talking at the beginning and end was meaningful. As the young new guy trying to make a name for himself and coming on the scene with his brand of lyrical and cocky, I felt that was perfect! If I didn’t fit in with what was going on at the time, or if I couldn’t be categorized or if I was making tracks that went longer than the 1 minute, 16-bar format, then I didn’t want to be right. The soulfulness of it stands out from the other tracks on the mixtape, but the pace of it falls right in with them. Where “My, Name’s Malik; I’mma Blow!!!” was my introductory declaration, This track is my mission statement. The video only adds to the overall intent and feeling of it, by playing up the training/boxing visual to make it Rocky-like. Now tell me I’m too relaxed now…

 

“Be Right”

 

“I’mma keep this short man,

cause you don’t John or Lee Malvo to show you what an M-16 do from Long range.

I write just like a sniper – take your pen off the page,

ricochet off your face,

make it spin off your braids.

Until there’s really shells at the end of your cornrows…

Lookin’ like Da Brat

rhhhaacttt!!

Now look at that!

Better yet;

Bow Wow and Omarion,

No I’m not Omarion,

but you can get ‘Touched’, like the body on

a model off the show UnCut,

-but that was only for mature audiences,

so that’s Take 1 – cut!!

Now tell your bodyguard keep his gun tucked,

before I have to put ’em in the air – just to show the boy what’s UP!

Don’t speak – Shut Up!

Ask you how’s the weather’s up there

Uh-Unh! – that was a test, you just flunked!

Don’t make me have to dearly depart you…

Leave you broke-up…

Oschino and Emilio Sparks you…

You wanna play Casino – this is really the part where you – Blow up;

the bomb is in the seat of your car duke.

And yes he’s, like Pesci cause I’ll kill you with a pen,

in a bar!

Especially if you’re stealing from my friend

-ain’t no borrowing

That’s called ‘biting’…

Your arms too short to box – forget it!

-I see why you biting.

You must’ve took your cues from Tyson,

but don’t mess with Liky iight!

You’ll get a leaky eye.

I’ll have one eye closed, til you can’t use both, at the same time;

Your new name is ‘Winky’…right?!

I done floored ’em with a hit, like,

Winky Wright,

and got a $40 dollar tip, off,

Winky Wright.

Cause unlike all these other kids – I admit I got a day job…

Hardest man working in business…steady gettin’.

I’m steady pimpin’…

While ya’ll are steady bending over,

cause ya’ll Undercover Brothers – I don’t mean no Eddie Griffin.

‘Sha-boing-boing!’

While ya’ll are boy-toys,

this boy toys around town in something foreign – steady whippin’!

I pop throttles,

and if it’s NOT foreign, then I’m like Tyra;

I’m pickin’ America’s Top Model!

Or somethin’ from that GM series…

Cause once they hear Malik spittin’, then they’re like ‘Gee, M’s serious!’

Chics need a good man,

then I G ’em serious,

like ‘look ma – I’m straight from that GM series’!

And then they wanna know who my wife is,

I tell them that I’m married to life,

cause we all know what life is

And now I see they’re embarrassed…

Since I’m married to Life,

and I’m their father – guess they’re meeting the parents!

But once they meet me – it’s apparent…

That they all HotShots!

No way that they can take on my spot!

So who’s first on the bus?

Cause I teach these kids grammar like Hammer – yeah I stay on “Proper”!

But they ain’t in my circle of trust

You wanna know why?

Cause they all, some Gaylord Fockers!!

-And it’s…

No sick days off pa,

cause I’m so Ill;

everyday’s a sick day – now call doctors!

And tell ’em Lik writes, what’s prescribed,

as bringin’ pain like Meth,

I’m “movin’ on your left!’

-Why??

Cause I don’t wanna Be Right….”

 

Hope you learned something…

Click the image of the Cover to the mixtape below to download and hear this song.

THIS is what they think of your “Black History Month”!!!

You ever heard that a picture is worth a thousand words?

Keiry sent me this picture like she randomly does sometimes because her sister had it sent to her from a friend who was just honestly shopping around their local PathMark. I wish this was one of those photo-shopped viral images designed to be texted around and laughed at (it can still be, and very well may be by now), but this is just truly one of those WTF moments captured in still life.

Last year, it was the NBC breakroom menu that was going around the internet, where the catering staff took it upon themselves to feel like they contributed to the legacy of the month by providing a special rundown of “Soul Food” and the Black choice for bottled water, Aquafina (a.k.a., the cheapest). 

It sparked controversy, as everything Black usually does because we are the most sensitive race on the Planet, and of course, outsiders struggled to wrap their heads around how this assumptive gesture could be taken offensively.

What it really comes down to is the question, is this what we are to the rest of the world?? Can we be narrowed down to a 1-note monolithic idea? Is our culture steeped primarily in singing, dancing and food that started out as the most unhealthy scraps that we turned into damn good-tasting delicacies??? Ironically, the same food that because we’ve been living off for decades, has caused us to develop diseases that pass generation-to-generation almost exclusively to us.

As a Black Man who has never been a fan of what I call “Slave-Food”, I can’t deny that this cuisine is indeed a testament to Black genius and our ability to make marvels out of morsels, or something from nothing, but I refuse to be defined by it when we’ve done soooo much else as a people. And If we’re speaking strictly within the realm of food, why not peanuts? Why not Red Velvet Cake? Foods that we undeniably have added to that are not stigmatized? There’s so many different kinds of “Black”. Then I must remember that excluding our African and Carribean counterparts, the history of the American Black is a very limited one…One that begins with slavery. So maybe this is our foundation. Scary isn’t it?

I understand why other races could be confused as to why something that seems like a good-natured effort to recognize the history of an ethnic group could be taken with such malice, but these implications speak volumes without saying much.

Next time the need is felt to put a sticker on something to celebrate Black History Month, how about a Traffic Light?? That‘ll be the day…

5 Days until we drop that New Aaliyah-inspired mixtape for V-Day!!

I’ve made you wait long enough.

It’s been a minute since I released any new “rappity rap” as my homegirl TDJ would say. I agree. Approximately, 4 months and counting.

And counting is exactly what we’re doing. All month long I’ve been counting down via your favorite social networking sites, the days before the release of Blue Valentine – The Aaliyah Mixtape. This time around, I’m bringing in the fellow members of my group, The Have-Knotz; Komp’L & Bobby. If you remember from my last tape, the 2 were featured heavily, so naturally this is a full effort from us as a group in preparation for our original music debut, coming this summer.

Inspired by the title of the Oscar-Buzz-worthy movie that just came out this winter, this project is a loosely conceptual one, surrounding the good bad and ugly of male-female relationships. And we figured that there’s not a more appropriate backdrop for these themes than the emotion-invoking sounds from the late Aaliyah‘s catalogue.

Not too many groups out there are getting topical, so we came to fill in the void. Plus, V-Day is one of the few holidays that I actually acknowledge. The timing is impeccable!

Speaking of timing, see us here in 5 days when the project drops and download it for free. Consider it a gift.

Now Blow!